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Diyas earns first career title at Japan Open

(TSX / STATS) -- Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan captured her first career WTA title by beating Miyu Kato of Japan 6-2, 7-5 on Sunday in the finals of the Japan Women's Open in Tokyo.

Diyas, 23, finished off an impressive week of tennis. To reach the final she beat second-seeded Zhang Shuai, eighth-seeded Yulia Putintseva and defending champion Christina McHale.

In a final featuring two qualifiers, the 100th-ranked Diyas had to beat the crowd favorite. Kato was the first Japanese player to reach the final of this event since Kimiko Date-Krumm in 2010.

Diyas broke Kato's serve in the first game to take control at the outset. A double fault by Kato in the seventh game led to another break before Diyas served out the set.

Diyas and Kato traded service breaks midway through the second set before Diyas got the critical break in the 11th game. She was then able to serve out the match.

Diyas' victory made up for her disappointment at this tournament three years ago, when she reached the final but lost to Samantha Stosur in Osaka, which was the host city for this event at the time.

Winning the tournament was a major accomplishment for Diyas, who competes primarily in lesser WTA events.

She lost in qualifying at both the French Open and U.S. Open, but did reach the third round at Wimbledon, although she did not beat any players ranked in the top 100 to do so.

Updated September 17, 2017

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